Driftwood Players

"Moon Over Buffalo" Feb. - March 2002

By Ken Ludwig, Directed by Gary Morean

From Left Front: Wendy Manlow: (Rosalind) Kathe Rowe: (Charlotte Hay) Ed Logue: (George Hay) Karen Wold: (Eileen)
From Left Rear: Rick Bates: (Paul) Art Blauvelt: (Richard) Margaret Nevills: (Ethel) Ryan Rowe: (Howard)

Pictures by
Jones Photo Co.

From The Daily World Thursday, February 14, 2002

'Moon' shine could be heady stuff at Driftwood

Gary Morean's 12th directorial foray features a troupe of touring actors, circa 1953, competing with movies and the new phenomenon -TV- for audiences.

By Jeff Burlingame
Daily World Entertainment Editor

    "Moon Over Buffalo," a madcap ensemble, is the kind of play where Gary Morean shines.

    The Aberdeen attorney, who has appeared in more than 30 productions since getting hooked on theater in college, is directing his 12th Driftwood show.

    "Having a strong community theater like Driftwood was a huge factor in my decision to locate here after I finished law school," says Morean.

    "Moon Over Buffalo" written by Ken Ludwig, features a troupe of touring actors competing with movies and the new phenomenon - TV - for audiences. Set in 1953, the company is led by a husband and wife team who have never managed to get beyond "B movie" levels of fame.

    The play opens at 8:15 p.m. Saturday off Broadway in Aberdeen and runs weekends through March 10.

    The curtain rises as the company's ingénue announces her pregnancy at the "hands" of her older leading man. Predictably, this news does not sit well with his wife, the leading lady.

    There's plenty of door-slamming slapstick action, witty dialogue and split-second timing. The show's main action takes place backstage in the Erlanger  Theatre in Buffalo, N.Y. 

    " 'Moon Over Buffalo' has many of the classical farce elements," says Morean, "but Ludwig adds that little something extra that says to an actor or a director, 'You have got to do this show.' When you read this show, it jumps off the page at you and you cannot help yourself - you end up laughing out load at the clever and funny things that the characters say to each other."

    Morean and his assistant, Susan Straka (who Morean says he'd never consider directing without), are aided by an all-star cast of veteran Driftwood performers, including Ed Logue, Rick Bates, Art Blauvelt and Margaret Nevills. Comedy is their trademark.

    Other key roles feature Kathe Rowe, Ryan Rowe and Karen Wold. Longtime Willapa Players' actress Wendy Manlow, making her Driftwood debut, rounds out the cast.

    More than 35 people tried out for the eight roles.

    "As an actor, you look at these roles that Ludwig has created and you say to yourself, 'Oh my, that is so great, I want to do that part. I want to be that character on stage. I want to make the audience laugh at how funny this is,' "says Morean.

    While the stars seem aligned in the director's favor for another successful show, the play's plot - actors competing with TV and movies for an audience - is bittersweet for little theater on the Twin Harbors and all across America.

    "The struggle that live theater has always had trying to compete with mass-media modes of communication is at the  heart of the competition for actors in our play: artistic success on the boards versus a commercial success on TV or in the movies," the director says.

    But "being there" with live actors in an intimate setting like the Driftwood Playhouse offers special rewards.

    "In live theater, you never know what is going to happen. Is the guy on the high wire going to make it to the other side, or is he going fall? Come to the theater and find out," Morean says.

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